Pots at Montemenardo

Clearly my pots obsession is high at the moment. I’d planned this post even before I knew I was heading to the garden centre to look at the new pots I have in my garden. Maybe, that helped me find the pots I was after, or maybe it’s just coincidence.

Either way, the pots in this post - and their contents - struck a chord with me and are all from our Italian break last October. We stayed in an ‘agriturismo’ just outside Todi in Perugia. It was quiet, it was the end of the season, and we had the place to ourselves, apart from the owners. The weather was mixed, but generally sunny and warm enough to make use of the terraces, moving to make the most of the sun throughout the day.

terracotta pot, pretty pink flowering geraniums

It wasn’t our most active of holidays, but it was just what we needed. Spending time looking at the views of the Italian countryside, tasting some local wines like you do, and marvelling at the geraniums still in flower and the mass of aloe veras.

Potted aloe vera in dappled shade

But the pot that really captures the spirit of Montemendardo for me, was this tiny yellow pot of flowering succulents, which was just casually placed by the entrance. Some might never have noticed it, but once you did, it didn’t take long to realise its beauty.

flowering succulents in a cheery yellow pot

So pots don’t need to be large and showy to bring joy, but where you place them is key.

Stationery and plant pots

Smug in Islington is one of those shops that has many of the things I like to buy: pretty notebooks, stationery and plant pots. An odd mix, you might think but it doesn’t feel like that as it’s also a shop that’s beautifully curated. And of course the bright yellow set of steps just inside the shop also help. I used to pop up to Islington frequently, but have got out of the habit. It’s one of those places that when I do go, I think it’s a place I should go to more often, and them promptly forget about again, until the next time.

On my recent trip up to the Business Design Centre, I was determined not to miss the opportunity to have a good look round. And so I did.

Sigh, pretty books and notebooks

Plant-based stationery, completely perfect for me! It’s one of those shops that would be easy to say I’ll have one of each please, and be entirely happy with the treasures you end up taking home.

Notebooks and notelets

Boxes of pencils, erasers and even more notebooks. The cycling one was a particular favourite. But it was the rubbers that provoked memories of school days and how much thought and time went into replenishing my supplies for the new school term, and the more unusual the rubber, the better. I’m sure though there were at least a couple of the pink and blue varieties pictured below at times.

pencils, rubbers and more notebooks.jpg

Now onto the plant pots. The pastel shades and quite peculiar “love heart” plants, and how they’re displayed just make them work. I normally opt for brights over pastels, but the pinks. greens and neutrals just work. The fact that most of them hold succulents is neither here nor there…

succulents in a pink pot in smug islington
Green pots and plants

So with a dose of Smug under my belt, all was well with my world and happy and contented - I avoided using the word smug there - my day could continue. And maybe this time, my next visit might happen a little more quickly.

Containers with a difference at RHS Harlow Carr

Looking back at my photos from our Yorkshire trip earlier in the summer I realised I’d not shared any photos from my visit to RHS Harlow Carr, which was one of the main reasons for heading North. I still have ambitions to visit all four of the RHS gardens this year, and with Wisley and Hyde Hall already visited this northern gem was one that needed some planning, as it’s not just around the corner from South London. 

The final garden, if I manage it, is RHS Rosemoor in Devon, and you’ll not be sure to hear I have a plan for that too. I’ve already had one attempt visiting there scuppered by the snow, so I’m hoping everything aligns for a visit in November.  

But more of that another day. I do have plenty of photos to share from Harlow Carr and I’m starting with some unusual containers which lined the steps down into the garden, which I’m sure many people missed in their eagerness to explore the gardens proper, but I do like an out of the ordinary container or two and it was MOH that was shuffling me along to see what else we could find. 

And when it comes to succulents in an old boot, that’s a pretty tough job. 

succulents are at home in most containers, even a boot

I’d plans to plant up some old wellies, but MOH wasn’t so keen, but as you know that’s unlikely to stop me, and I’m sure when they’re in full grow he’ll be more appreciative. 

A plain cup and saucer was the perfect setting for this vibrant pink flower, which also had the look of a succulent about it. I’m less sure about this, mainly because I’m sure I’d definitely over water and end up drowning it, which wouldn’t be good. 

a cup and saucer with a difference at RHS Harlow Carr

Strawberries in a wire basket on the other hand could be just my thing. I’ve brought many strawberry plants back from the allotment which are currently growing in several trugs, and I really need to sort out how to grow them properly next year. 

strawberries in a basket

Olive oil cans have long been another ambition of mine, we do use olive oil but not this much and I’ve yet to source a supply of empty tins that works - I’m open to ideas on that one, if you have any! 

Olive oil tins make great containers

I think they’d make a great edging to a plain path or on the patio grouped togetuand would be ideal for herbs. Galvanised, or even lead buckets are also on my wish list, and seeing the succulents looking so good against the grey hasn’t deterred me.  

succulents in a rustic bucket

In fact you’ve probably already noticed that succulents and small leafed plants feature heavily in these containers, and I’m sure that’s no accident as they’re more likely to withstand drought and trying conditions. 

ceramic pots and a mini garden of plants at RHS Harlow Carr

Even the containers which had a ‘garden’ planted in them generally followed this rule of thumb, and these people at RHS Harlow Carr know their stuff.  

An enamel bowl gets similar treatment

I also have enamel bowl envy after seeing the photo above, though I’m not sure if I could use one as a container - I guess that would depend on its condition.  

So here’s a brief intro to my visit to the RHS’ most northerly garden, and there’s plenty more to come. But what do you think, are any of these containers for you?